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Judges find search wasn't valid under 4th Amendment

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has found that a woman’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures was violated and a trial judge erred in not suppressing evidence found during a home search.

In Pamela J. Hensley v. State of Indiana, No. 63A01-1105-CR-195, the Court of Appeals examined a Pike Circuit case involving a woman whose home was search by police following a tip that her husband, who was on probation, possessed marijuana. Police went to check the home and Pamela Hensley let them inside where they found marijuana and generic Xanax under a mattress. After finding those substances, police obtained a search warrant and discovered rolling papers, a pipe and prescription bottles.

The state charged Hensley with felony possession of illegal drugs, maintaining a common nuisance and possession of paraphernalia. Before trial, Hensley filed a motion to suppress the evidence and the trial court denied that request but certified the case for interlocutory appeal.

The appellate judges rejected the state’s argument that the search was a probation search – not an investigatory search – and was reasonable. The judges cited a 2001 ruling from the Supreme Court of the United States in United States v. Knights, 534 U.S. 112 (2001), that a search may be justified if it related to a probationer engaged in criminal activity.

But the Indiana judges found the police were “pursuing their own agenda” and conducted an investigatory search under the guise of a probationary search. To qualify as a constitutional search under Knights, the police would have needed to have reasonable suspicion that Robert Hensley engaged in criminal activity.

In a footnote, the judges wrote that because their holding is the search was illegal under the Fourth Amendment, they weren’t addressing the question about whether it was valid under the Indiana Constitution.

The appellate panel remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings.

 

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  1. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  2. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  3. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

  4. Well, I agree with you that the people need to wake up and see what our judges and politicians have done to our rights and freedoms. This DNA loophole in the statute of limitations is clearly unconstitutional. Why should dna evidence be treated different than video tape evidence for example. So if you commit a crime and they catch you on tape or if you confess or leave prints behind: they only have five years to bring their case. However, if dna identifies someone they can still bring a case even fifty-years later. where is the common sense and reason. Members of congress are corrupt fools. They should all be kicked out of office and replaced by people who respect the constitution.

  5. If the AG could pick and choose which state statutes he defended from Constitutional challenge, wouldn't that make him more powerful than the Guv and General Assembly? In other words, the AG should have no choice in defending laws. He should defend all of them. If its a bad law, blame the General Assembly who presumably passed it with a majority (not the government lawyer). Also, why has there been no write up on the actual legislators who passed the law defining marriage? For all the fuss Democrats have made, it would be interesting to know if some Democrats voted in favor of it (or if some Republican's voted against it). Have a nice day.

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